Cameras, Cameras & Cameras

December 28, 2022

In today’s world, there are cameras almost everywhere we go, tracking everything we do. Almost every store has them, they are on street corners, we have doorbell cameras, the police wear body cams, and even newer cars are coming equipped with them in more areas than just as a rearview or backup camera.

There are quite literally millions and billions of cameras that are recording video 24/7, everywhere. It sounds like something from a science fiction movie, but it’s true life and something we live with every day.

And of course, on top of cameras being just about everywhere, they are also advancing in technological abilities as well. The parts that make up a camera (sensors, lens, CPUs, night vision, etc…), are becoming more sophisticated and complicated at an amazing pace. The camera on your phone is now more powerful than the handheld SLR digital cameras from 5 years ago.

Cameras Watching

Recording All the Time

Now, it’s worth asking, why are there so many cameras recording all the time? Is it for peace of mind? To review and watch later? Who’s doing the watching? That’s a lot of data to go through.

The reality is that much of the video that is recorded is not ever looked at, and it is either erased or archived and forgotten about. When you consider the amount of money that is spent on the cameras, storage, and electricity to keep them running, it comes out to a huge waste of money and resources.

As mentioned, it may help with peace of mind for the owners of the cameras, and in the event that something does actually happen it’s better to have some video evidence instead of just “your word” to back up your story.

The World of Recording and AI

One of the biggest issues with having cameras everywhere is the question of how do you keep your privacy? Everyone wants to maintain some level of privacy an anonymity, and thankfully for the most part we still have that. At present, it is still illegal to equip cameras with facial recognition technology in public settings (AB-1651), but with private dwellings and corporations it’s a bit more a gray area.

The truth of the matter is that while it sounds scary, we live in a world that is constantly recording people to make their quality of life easier. Dash cams for cars have recording features to help keep drivers and passengers safe from harm, streetlights use them to record people who run through red lights, and having cameras on your property can help deter break-ins.

While the concept of AI is still very different than what is portrayed in movies and in books, we do have very advanced computer programs that help to monitor video and perform tasks based on things that happen within the parameters of the program code.

One of the scary ideas of being recorded all the time is that there is someone on the other side, watching your every move. Not only is this not true, it’s not feasible. If you think about all the places you go in a day, there’s no way a person would be able to keep up with you and other people at the same time.

It’s for this reason that most cameras with “AI” have a list of protocols to follow and watch for. For example, in some cases the video inside of your car will record continuously, but when it detects that there is an accident (which involves coding, GPS, and accelerometer detection) it sets off a chain reaction of commands to do more in-depth recordings, and even send out an alert to authorities. This is the benefit of advanced computer systems inside of modern-day recording devices.

The Reality of Being Watched 

If you are like most people, the idea of being watched all the time isn’t very comforting if you don’t understand the purpose behind it. You may ask, who will be doing such a tedious recording job of following you, and for what reasons? In public, it’s usually “the government”. The government is responsible for safety of its people, and it has a duty to maintain a level of safety, much like the government regulatory organization is setting the vehicle-built standards, mandating vehicle manufacturers to comply.

Here’s another way to think about it; is it beneficial to have cameras watching you at work, walking on a road, and while driving, if everything is for you and for your safety?

Why not have a video and voice recording black box installed in every vehicle on the roads? Just as FAA mandating every airplane to equipped with the black box.

Unfortunately, there are two problems with this model. Firstly, if the black box is not connected to the cloud, it becomes very difficult to pull the recording data out of the box in an event of accident. Who would operate such cloud storage servers? Second, the cost. Connectivity, and if it is cellular based, who would pay the bills? Also, the cost of black box itself, maintenance cost, then when something happens, processing and analysis, all these things cost money. With an estimated 289.5 million cars on the road in the US in 2021, there is no easy solution.

So, at the end of the day, it might be better to let the cameras follow you. For prevention of accidents, think like you are getting additional insurance package. It might seem difficult, but you may need to trust whoever maybe doing this for you. The world of technological advancement is not slowing down, and it’s better to be in control of what you can in the beginning so you understand how it works before it becomes a requirement. The vast majority of life is improved when there is evidence to support your position when something goes wrong. And if you go through your days and nothing ever happens, then you can delete those videos without any worry.